Let Them Eat Cake '19: Review
Returning for its 7th year at the Mansion and boasting its most colossal lineup on record, LTEC has once again delivered, strengthening its reputation as the premiere destination for your new year’s day celebrations.
Heading into the Mansion on new years day poses a number of headaches. Certainly, most if not all punters are, in some capacity, grappling with headaches from parties the night previous. On top of this self induced pain attendee’s also have their scarcely intact intellect pushed to its limits in trying to navigate the days programming and the august grounds of the mansion. With Ubers arriving at every which corner, the high-vis sentinels marked around the grounds of the mansion are kept on their toes trying to determine whether they’re herding lost, blumbering ticket holders or more conniving folk of nefarious intentions.
In a crowded market of NYD parties Cake has looked to stamp its authority as the principal ‘first-of-Jan party’, it did this with a massive thumper of a lineup. Though obviously providing a day of elite electronic music from start to finish, gargantuan juggernauts like this are rarely without collateral damage. At around $170 a ticket, Cake sits at the pricier end of your NYD options, though its not only your wallet which takes a blow. With such a vast array of top brass selectors and so many hours in a day there are bound to be clashes and missed favourites, especially considering the time it takes many to get moving on the first day of the year. With this being said, I’m always surprised at not only my own, but also the uncanny gumption of the Australian people to back up the second NY leg, arriving at Cake you find that most of the cobwebs have been shaken and the truly stunning grounds of the mansion promise a fine day of drinking and dancing.
Cakes 2019 lineup has rightly so attracted a significant amount of praise, but their attention to the smaller details was on point, and should not be forgotten. Werribee Mansion alone is perhaps one of the most attractive festival locations in the country, it would be easy to neglect their commitment to art installations with so much natural beauty at their disposal. To their credit, they did not. OCTA live art installations made the relatively expensive price for a one day festival seem worthwhile - Cake’s ongoing efforts to deliver on more than just the music is a trend that we hope continues into 2019, especially at festivals that promote themselves for their commitment to art.
Once we arrived at the festival a number of changes were instantly obvious, a new look festival layout saw the main stage moved to the opposite side of the mansion’s lawn, whilst a number of the smaller stages had a total revamp and favourable changes of scenery.
Starting the day off at the main stage we were lucky enough to receive a two and a half hour set from Motor City Drum Ensemble. I’d venture that no one else fits the brief of easing dishevelled crowds into dancing euphoria better than MCDE. He dished out the perfect, signature afternoon set. Full of rare digs, old school vocal samples and house and disco heaters. The perfect way to kick start your festival in Melbourne’s perfect clear skies.
London based DJ and producer Midland has seen his stock rise immensely in 2018, he now finds himself in an elite company of selectors who find themselves amongst the headliners, no matter the bill. Picking up where MCDE left off, Midland had the crowd moving, the dark, big room, acid tune: ‘Never Rhythm Game’ - Nathan Micay was well received by the large audience gathering around the main stage. As the day progressed Midland’s set continued to deliver, the Gil Scott-Heron sampled ‘The Revival’ by Braxton Holmes & Mark Grant was an infectious flavour that caught out almost the entire dance floor. A contender for set of the festival and as one particularity happy punter put it simply, “Midland, hectic man.”
In a lineup filled with internationals every man and their dog still crammed their way into to see the nations first lady of disco and now, with the end of the mining boom, I think I can confidently say, ‘our finest export’. Another enrapturing performance from CC, something about her personality and selections breed a special kind of frivolous, giddy mood in the crowds, perhaps giving someone a wedgie in between transitions has something to do with it.
It has to be said, the sound at the Guillotine was sensational and its full range was felt throughout her set. Her ability to ensnare your attention through a series of more rhythmically led tracks and then bust you wide open into unadulterated joy is a true feather in her cap, when she dropped GANGgajang’s ‘Sounds of Then (This is Australia)’ she did just that, a rare moment of genuine full throttle crowd sing along and a real highlight. Though from the outer sometimes these moments might seem a little kitsch or cheesey, there is something very earnest in CC’s sets, no one pulls it off better.
The global infatuation with Peggy Gou looks destined to continue into 2019. One of the most intriguing characters on the global circuit, Peggy Gou has transcended the usual adjectives attributed to jet setting DJ’s. She’s a music obsessive, a fashion idol, a global phenomenon. I suspect for many Peggy’s reputation precedes herself, though those who had people pigeon-holed her as an ‘Instagram-DJ’ or something of the like would find those false perceptions to be quickly dashed. A strong set, especially given the unforgiving touring schedule she’s been working under, having gone from BTV, up to Sydney for Field Day, then back to Melbourne for Cake. Her Acid Journey Mix of Shakedown’ At Night’ was particularly well received.
Perhaps the hardest decision of the day was the choice to leave Peggy Gou’s set early to catch the remainder of the Italian talisman, DJ Tennis. No stranger to our shores having toured Australia every year since 2015, Tennis’ sets have quickly become notorious for his ability to be able to pick the perfect song to suit the vibe of the room/mansion/dusty open plain.
Sunsets are always special. The changing colours of the sky set at the fore of a grandiose late 1800’s mansion only improves the vista, when met with a vocal sample from the late, great Aretha Franklin’s ‘Never Grow Old’ and a signature Floorplan techno beat harmonises into a visceral, sensory encapsulating moment, one of the best of the day.
As the sun set, Tennis upped the tempo, continuing the trend of hard hitting house and techno tracks, once again demanding the audiences attention and warming the crowd up perfectly for the festivals headliners. (Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming DJ Tennis chinwag, live from BTV where topics include the perfect album to cook to).
An unfortunate damper on the DJ Tennis fun train were some inconsistencies with the sound at the Bastille. Technical difficulties had it feeling patchy, with only certain pockets delivering great sound. Thankfully in the last half hour or so of his set errors seemed to be ironed out and the system was suitably imposing for Bicep’s closing duties. It’s fair to say they’ve been a busy pair. They’re 2017 self titled album, somehow still felt somewhat relevant, it will absolutely go down as one of the seminal records of this era. Though it was still an enjoyable set and a fine performance from one of the most in demand duo’s throughout the globe, there were signs of wear and tear. To be expected with the pair relentlessly touring largely, the same body of work for such a length of time. Nonetheless, ‘Glue’ and ‘Just’ can still elate cheers from any audience on the planet.
The rest is a familiar story - vexing efforts to get home. Weary legs trudging towards buses, haphazard rideshare plans thrown together and yet all the while all there is a definite air of contentment and satisfaction amongst the crowds, either from those who are pleased to see the end of two days of unrelenting partying or those with an extra yard of stamina who are making kick on plans none are left unfulfilled from a day at the mansion.